The Hero’s Journey: The Road Back

Today we’ve reached Step 10 of the 12 steps of the Hero’s Journey. This step is called “The Road Back” and follows the celebration of the reward. In Step 10, the hero faces a choice: Should he remain in his new and special world, or should he return to his ordinary one? 

Most heroes choose to return to their ordinary world, but they do so as more mature people. Psychologically, the hero returns to his ordinary world but chooses to implement what he has learned in the special world. In this step, the hero recommits himself to completing his quest. 

“The Road Back” marks the turning point from Act 2 to Act 3 in your story. At this point, you will very likely have to insert something to give your story another boost. Your hero must be motivated to return to his ordinary world. Also, he will face the re-emergence of the villain–or villains–as he crosses the threshold back to his ordinary world. 

Ask yourself the following questions: 

1) What motivates my hero to return to his ordinary world to complete his quest?

2) Does the villain retaliate?

2) If so, how? What happens? What effect does it have on your hero? 

Sometimes the hero is chased out of the special world back into the ordinary world. If this happens, consider how your hero escapes. What effect does it have on him and those around him? 

Next time we will explore Step 11: The Resurrection.

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2 thoughts on “The Hero’s Journey: The Road Back

  1. We all know the saying, “You can’t go home.” I find that’s true in some stories when the hero has been been through a particularly traumatic situation. Like Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. He went home but couldn’t stay home.

    In my WIP, Akeela will go home to get her guardian settled, but then she will have to leave because of her new responsibilities.

    November 16, 2009 at 3:06 PM

    • In stories, many heroes do go home, but I wonder if we could say that, since they are no longer the same person, the home to which they are returning is no longer the same place in the eyes. It has been transformed by their personal transformation. What do you think?

      November 20, 2009 at 8:18 AM